Friday, 29 April 2016

Friday Favourites

This might be more of an occasional thing, but I thought it might be nice to do something more cheerful than my usual eating related adventures / doom and gloom.  So here’s what’s been floating my boat this week!

1.       Micro adventures

Last weekend my friend Lynsey and I jumped in the car and decided on the spot where to go.  It ended up being Clevedon which is a little town on the coast near us.  We drove along country lanes in the sun, walked along the sea front and wandered on to the coast path for a while, and then found a cafe for a hot chocolate with marshmallows in the sun.  We do these quite often – pick a place or thing and whoever’s free and just pootle off and see somewhere different.  Sometimes there’s walks, there’s nearly always cute cafes or funky looking restaurants for refreshments.  The best thing is these little breakaways require zero planning and can be whatever we make them, but they’re a fun thing to do on the weekend or sunny evenings.

2.        Work socials

I accepted an invite for this ages ago, and when it rolled round this Wednesday all I wanted to do was hermit in the evening.  Because that’s how I roll at the moment.  Instead, I forced myself to cheer the eff up and go, and whaddaya know?  It’s was FUN.  My work team had a couple of teams entered for a treasure hunt around Bristol (‘s pubs) and it was hilarious.  We charged around the harbourside area of town, trying to find all the clues and collectibles, drinking gin and blatantly cheating by trying to steal answers from other teams whilst protecting our own.  A brilliant use of an evening, even if we were all a bit jaded in the office the following day!

3.       How To Get Away With Murder

On Wednesday of the previous week, my friend Krissy and I had a movie night.  There was pizza, crisps and hummus, wine and all the good things.  We watched Thor because we’re totally basic and Chris Hemsworth is hot, and then there was that awkward dilemma of “we want to watch something else, but we’re old and need to get bed at reasonable times” so we perused Netflix until we came across this.  It’s on both out watch lists, but neither of us had started it yet, so we went for it.  Oh good god.  I was fascinated, and simultaneously not quite sure what was going on ... it’s one of those shows where the main storyline is interspersed with flash-forwards and flash-backs, so you’re never quite seeing the whole time-line in order, but it’s good.  Episode 2 was similarly good this week, so was 3 and I’m looking forwards to the next one when I get 50 mins spare.

4.       EOS lip balm

It’s entirely possible that I’m the last person in the world to try these babies, but apparently Boots are finally selling them and my friends have been raving about them for ages.  I love that the ingredients list is pretty much all natural and lacking entirely in the usual petroleum-based chemicals, and also that it’s cute and round and pink.  I still love my Carmex (also great for sore noses when you have a stinking cold!), but this is all nice and shiny and new.

5.       Bank Holiday weekends

Frankly, who doesn’t love a Bank Holiday??  An extra day off work, the giddy possibility of sun, and barbeques and gin whilst sitting outside!  Bank Holidays are basically as British as British can be.  Whether it’s wise or not, I’m taking a risk and going camping in North Devon this weekend for a bit of surfing and socialising.  Which means it will probably rain non-stop and blow a hoolie, but that’s the good ol’ UK weather for you.  I’ll see you on the other side with tales of drowning in the mud most likely.

6.       Notebooks and getting organised

Organisation is 100% not my strong point.  Not.  At.  All.  

I am sadly, hilariously disorganised; notoriously late for everything (although I personally think that’s a separate issue more related to my hopeless optimism), and frequently guilty of either forgetting things completely or somehow mysteriously committing to multiple things at the same time.  It’s something that stresses me out and makes me feel like less of an adult.  

However, over the last week or so, I’ve taken to carrying a little notebook with me and I feel like it’s changed my life.  I love a list, and write them frequently to try and combat my failure to organise – packing lists, to do lists, etc – but then leave them behind and well .... that doesn’t help.  So my trusty little notebook stays with me all day, on my desk at work, in my handbag and around the flat, and I scribble in it when I think of something.  It has all the lists in one place, and genuinely despite the last week being busy, it’s been mysteriously stress-free.  The car got MOT’d and serviced, the weekend with my schoolfriends got organised, the packing for this weekend got done and in the car before work this morning ... it’s scary how well it’s gone (which secretly feels like I’ve forgotten something blindingly obvious).

Somehow the most simple tactic has changed the game, and I fully like the newly organised me.

7.       Eat Pray Love

I saw the film of this years ago, but never read the book and when I was looking for books to read back when I was off work in December, this was recommended by my flatmate.  It took me until 3 or 4 weeks ago to get through the list of other books to it, but I started reading this on my flight to France at the end of last month and I love it.  I’m being horribly slow with reading at the moment, but I love that it’s part travel guide, part spiritual / religious thesis, part biography and full of charm and self-deprecating humour.  I’m near the end now (got the Kindle packed for this weekend’s downtime!) and don’t really want it to end.

8.       Game Of Thrones 

Series 6 – ahhhhhhhh – you’re so good!  I LOVE GoT, and have been impatiently waiting since last year for the next series and FINALLY watched the first episode on Monday.  Yup – still got it.  Series 6 is going to be ace – I feel it in my bones.

9.       Running with friends

It was so nice to run with the girls on the Downs on Monday night.  Good chats, pretty scenery and the motivation that comes with running in a group.  This might be the thing that helps me fall in love with running again.  We can but hope.  I don’t need to be running any more half marathons or anything, but would love to be able to comfortably run a 5 miler when I fancy it again – that makes me feel strong and invincible, like a normal healthy person.

If you have any recommendations for what you’re loving at the moment – send them my way!  Hope you all have wonderful weekends , whatever you’re up to, and feel fabulously rested by Tuesday.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Self Doubt

Self doubt. According to my book, it’s the root of all dietary evil.

I’ve been pottering along with the not-dieting thing for a while now, but just in the last week or so, I noticed that rather than maintaining effortlessly, I was starting to slip back into old habits. Alarm bells rang, and I thought it was time for a refresh via another reading of my emotional eating resources. The one I’m currently perusing a second time is Shrink Yourself, although I really rate Eat, Guilt, Repent, Repeat as well.

Anyhoo, this book is ace (for me at least), as even on the second or third read of chapters (this is my second full read through, but I’ve dipped into chapters a couple of times since reading it the first time in September), it still makes me go “oh my god, yes, it’s like you’re describing me!”. Which is quite reassuring because if the problems are similar, it gives me some vague hope that the solutions suggested might also work for me.

Sometimes, I wake up in the morning now, and if I ain’t hungry, then I just ain’t bothered about food. Which I think you’ll agree is a very nice thing for someone who’s had to think about her weight, and food consumption, most of her adult life. Other days, well, I still want to eat EVERYTHING, and I just can’t figure out why. There’s no palpable “I’m bored / sad / lonely and therefore hungry” light bulb going on over my head, and therefore I just can’t work out what to do to combat the feeling.

Re-reading the book has highlighted something I had forgotten though – that a lot of time we overeat as a reaction to self-doubt. And as I know very well, self-doubt can come in many forms, on many subjects and from many sources. This weekend for instance, I spent a gorgeous couple of days back in my dad’s home town, seeing a lot of old friends and catching up. It was all very lovely and happy on the surface, and yet I was eating way more than I needed. The minute I re-read the chapter on self-doubt it all pinged into place – I love those friends but they have very different lives to me: they’re all settled into married couples, own houses and are starting families. Whilst that’s not necessarily exactly what I want right now (the thought of having babies anytime soon causes me actual panic), I do somehow feel like I’ve fallen behind and my life is inferior when I’m there and immersed in that environment.

Stepping back and looking at it objectively, the truth is that I don’t own a home yet, at least in part, because I live in a city where house prices are pretty much double my home town’s – so even aside from the time out taken to pay off debts, I would still struggle to get a mortgage on my own. And the friends I have in this city who do own had parental assistance to get started ... I didn’t and that’s not inferiority, just different. I don’t really want kids right now (I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever be ready) but my friends at home are in a different phase of their lives and for them it is primary importance ... I’m just soaking up their priorities like they’re my own when I’m home. As for being married ... well, I won’t say that’s something that I wouldn’t like, or at least a decent long-partner, but life just hasn’t been kind enough to put that in my path yet. Does it make me an inferior person to them? Well, it’s easy to interpret it as such (I’m not as lovable, or attractive, etc), but I think that would be doing myself an injustice.

In the moment, immersed deep in the environment of my home town, it’s easy to let self-doubt take over, without even realising it and to numb the discomfort of it with food. Back in my flat, in my normal environment, and taking the time to really look into my emotional eating again, it fades like a bad dream.

Other than the eating, the weekend was glorious – staying with friends catching up on life, and laughing at the hilarious things their little 2 year old girl says, smiling at her wonder at there being snow on the hills on Saturday morning (as she announced to us so happily again and again). Wandering around the top of the hills, celebrating a pregnancy announcement and quietly mourning with another friend over a miscarriage. Shopping with the girls, pub lunches in the sun and gossipy dinners over wine. Friendships like that are food for the soul.

Monday came round so quickly, but it’s traditionally a day of fresh starts - so here’s to starting over, yet again, and kicking those self-doubts into touch.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

As A General Rule

It amazes me how damn good food tastes right now.  Or to be precise, how damn good it is to have variety again – to enjoy all the things I’ve steered clear of for so long, whilst at the same time noticing how bland and blah a lot of other food is.  Those bland and blah foods are a mix of things I’ve been forcing myself to eat for so long because they were easy “low point” options and also foods that I’ve craved because they were “banned” and now I remember that they’re totally not worth it.

I think that I’m slowly getting used to being able to pick freely again, and some of my early food obsessions are starting to lessen now.  Initially, I was obsessed with fruit crumble and custard for instance, and it’s still something I love but I think I’ve got my fill of it now.  What I realise now is it’s worth (or still worth, as I think this was a theme from my diet days) just going for the good stuff.  Good cake over cheap cake.  Good bread.  Good restaurants.  Basically, if you’re going to use your calories (and don’t feel guilty about that!) then use them wisely.  Personally, I never feel guilt for eating an excellent slice of delicious homemade cake.  I definitely feel regret for cheap cake that I could have got anytime.

I read something really nice the other day, from a nutritionist, about the idea of food rules, and in particular having a “general rule”.  Her idea is that rather than saying “I’m giving up coffee”, or “I’m trying not to drink alcohol during the week”, which totally sets one up to fail the minute you deviate from an absolute rule, you say “as a general rule I don’t eat crisps” – which means that if you’re offered something you really like then you can take it without guilt, but you know as a general rule you’d rather eat something a bit healthier.  This, for me, meshes perfectly with the idea of finding balance between looking after yourself and never feeling guilt for what you eat.  It’s something I can sit alongside the healed eating habits I’m aiming for as a mantra for life.

Right now, I’m not there, but I hope I’m getting there.  Slowly.  I baked this week – something I haven’t done for ages for fear of either having cake in the house and eating the lot, or spending a lot of money on something I enjoy but having to give the results away all the time.  Last night I wasn’t particularly hungry so I didn’t bother with dinner and had a cup of tea and a smallish slice of the aforementioned cake instead.  That’s actually huge progress for me, as a few months ago I wouldn’t have even considered not having dinner just because I wasn’t hungry and would likely have had the cake afterwards as well.

It’s a frustratingly slow process to heal all my bad habits, and when you’re in it you can’t see how anything is changing.  But like learning anything, sometimes you look back and can see how far you’ve come, or a particular situation will make you reflect on a specific change you automatically make now, and that encourages you to keep slowly pushing forwards.

As before, my weight hasn’t changed recently – sometimes it goes down a bit, sometimes up a bit, but I’m still  averaging where I was when I left Weightwatchers and stopped dieting. I’m certainly no worse off than I was, and I’m much happier to be maintaining effortlessly whilst not dieting rather than not losing weight whilst actively tying myself in knots on a diet program.  It seems like a bit of a no-brainer really when I put it that way!

Other than that, I've booked to go to Borneo in August with friends exploring (wooooohoooo!), I'm trying to organise a weekend in Budapest to keep me going holiday-wise until then, works kind of tottering along and I really need to get back surfing before I forget which end of the surfboard is which.  Oh yeah - and I cunningly (foolishly) entered myself for THREE races next month - what on earth was I thinking???  So I might be lucky if I'm still alive in August to go on holiday at all!!!

I'm dreaming of beaches like these until then: